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Comments (18)

Most Helpful
Oct 3, 2019 - 12:12am

When you're deciding between any MBB firm culture is the biggest thing, especially when the location differences are Boston vs NY. Boston is a huge office and isn't held to a lesser regard than a NY office. If this were BCG Detroit vs Bain Boston I'd say Bain without a doubt, but Boston vs NY, location is solely which one you prefer because the prestige is the same.

Bain has a slight leg up in terms of PE recruiting, whereas BCG has more alumni in every other area. Bain has office-based staffing, whereas BCG has a mix of local/regional/global staffing. Bain operates in fewer areas than BCG. BCG has more offices abroad if you're looking to do a year in a foreign office. BCG also has a slightly higher salary. The stereotype is that Bain has more of a fratty culture and BCG has more of a nerdier culture.

I was slightly more biased towards the end with BCG (offices and salary), but overall it depends on which place you like more. If you vibed better with Bain, choose Bain, especially if you have no preference towards cities. If you're solely looking at exit ops, and nothing else matters, for PE I'd pick Bain, for everything else I'd pick BCG. But in real life you don't choose things based solely off of one factor, but on many, so you have to weigh all of these things to find which fit is right for you. If you don't like the choice you made, it's probably more so not liking the career, than not liking one firm over the other.

Congrats on the offers, you're in a really great situation

Oct 10, 2019 - 4:55am

Congrats on the offers! Those are two great opportunities, and you are likely to have a blast regardless of where you end up going.

ebitda-d's comment above is right, although I'm not sure the coverage difference is that strong in Boston/ NY since those are two of both companies' largest offices, so they will be able to offer a lot of variety at the local and regional level. I would stress culture a bit more, however. You're potentially spending the majority of your week with these people in a stressful environment for the coming years. Being in a culture where you connect well, feel supported, and can grow personally makes a big difference in such a situation.

Again, either way you'll have a super interesting time wherever you go; look forward to it!

EDIT: If you have a strong interest in a specific field (esp. non-PE), try to ask around to see if one of the two has a differentiated offering in it. In this perspective, BCG is likely to be in certain niches where Bain might not be (as) present.

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Oct 13, 2019 - 6:44am

Just choose on culture and city. This is going to be your life at least during the week for the next few years, so better spend it with people you connect with. All the rest is marginal. Exit opps are the same and your own performance is going to matter much more than the firm you end up at. Except maybe if you want to do PE where Bain is significantly stronger; rest is a wash.

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Oct 16, 2019 - 8:13pm

You honestly should go for BCG NY.
I've interviewed for both and seen both offices (unsuccessfully) last year, and BCG NY was amazing. You can't judge on the vibe after talking with 4-8 people in a 400+ office.

You'll have more generalist exit opportunities at BCG, and still have a chance in PE. To me it's a no brainer.

Let us know what you decided !

Oct 17, 2019 - 1:54pm

Boston and NYC are both "mothership" offices for Bain and BCG. Obviously, Boston is the HQ for both.

You will not be in a small field office with 5 partners that are never in the office and you are basically off the grid.

Both offices are important to both firms, so location is equal in terms of career opportunities.
If you want to be in NYC, take BCG. If you want Boston and maybe want to exit to all the Boston area PE/VC, tech and biopharma, take Bain. BCG has more cross-industry exit opps.

As others stated, choose the place you vibed with. I've heard the Bain culture is very tough from an up/out performance perspective. Not that BCG isn't, but when you are new and trying to get traction, that is something to think about.

Oct 17, 2019 - 4:22pm

I would consider how you want to travel. Bain is very regional and not as global as BCG. Because of that, at Bain you'll likely ride with the same set of folks for a while (told to me be a. Bainee). At BCG you could have west coast clients meaning more miles, refreshing to have very new teams in each engagement, but could also mean much more time spent in a plane

Oct 17, 2019 - 5:21pm

It's still an 600-700 people office. It's highly unlikely you'll be spending time with the same team unless its on the same engagement or requested from all sides.

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Oct 26, 2019 - 3:44pm

Thanks all for the detailed responses - really really appreciate it.

I noticed in a few older posts that there's some discussion pertaining to the following two points. Since the posts were relatively old (~2011-2014), I'm wondering if anyone could shed some light on whether the following are still the case today?

(1) Bain ACs are given less responsibility (i.e., treated as a "true analyst") than BCG Associates (i.e., treated the same as people entering from post-MBA). (Although I realize this might have a lot more to do with independent projects and work-style of managers)

(2) Bain does not have as much back-office / support resources, meaning ACs often have to do more grunt / research work for projects than As at BCG. Overall, this translates to ACs often doing less "interesting" / client-facing tasks?

Oct 27, 2019 - 6:11pm

No. Both have built out research and graphics departments. BCG maybe marginally more so but it's not moving the needle. McKinsey is the only one with a differentiated back-office.

An easy iteration point is that Bain and BCG have the same exit opps at every level and hence the skills developed and activities done are very similar. If you're a super star analyst you'll progress quicker and get more interesting work to do, but that's at either firm the case.

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Oct 30, 2019 - 9:08pm

From friends who worked at both, ACs and Associates have practically similar roles. The differentiating aspect will be the team set-up and manager's working style. Some projects have senior client counterparts which leads to more analyst-type responsibilities while others are leaner with more "accessible" client counterparts, where a pre-MBA can have pretty much post-MBA responsibilities.

Regarding back-office, McKinsey clearly leads the pack. The other two have a level of support but will still have team members below managers doing grunt work. On top of that, you might be better off doing a lot yourself anyway if you're in a crunch.

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Nov 13, 2019 - 12:10pm

Congrats. What sealed the deal for you between the two offers?

Progress is impossible without change...
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Nov 13, 2019 - 2:13pm

Congrats! Interested as well to hear about the final steps of the decision-making process. (For example, did any e.g. events/ attention sway the balance?)

Nov 16, 2019 - 2:05pm

I went to the sell weekends for both and personally felt that BCG and Bain were much more similar than I had expected, so my decision was mostly focused on cultural fit!

I do have more of a finance background so the ability to do a PEG rotation also made me lean towards Bain.

Happy to help anyone else who is making a similar decision walk through my thought process in more detail :)

Nov 16, 2019 - 2:04pm

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